Påsk (Easter) in Sweden

I originally published this in 2012, when I was living in Sweden as an expat. It gives an overview of the celebration of Påsk (Easter) in Sweden. There are some similarities and some differences from the US.It was first published on April 19, 2012.

Traditional in Sweden


Although it is past Easter, I want to share this with my readers. I had hoped to have my blog ready by Easter, but it didn’t work out that way.
In the US, Easter celebrates new life, Spring, and most importantly the resurrection of Jesus. Not every US citizen recognizes the resurrection of Jesus as the true meaning of Easter, but it is the prevailing culture.

In Sweden, the majority of Swedes recognize Easter only as a secular holiday. Easter decorations that are common are bare birch branches decorated with colored feathers. Also, brightly decorated paper mache eggs filled with candy are everywhere. They are made in Germany, so they must be throughout Europe. These paper eggs are delightful. As you can see in the picture they are for sale plentifully in the stores. The price translates to $1.92. The candy is not included in these.

Brightly Decorated Eggs

I received one, and this candy was interesting. It looks like a fried egg, but it is a soft marshmallow like gum drop type candy.
The tradition of coloring eggs is celebrated in Sweden, but usually not decorated as elaborately as in other European countries.

Looking forward to the Easter bunny is not a tradition in Sweden. The tradition that is common, but thought of as strange to those who are not Swedes, is the Easter Witch tradition for the children. It sounds a lot like Halloween in the US. The children dress as witches, or (hags), and go door to door with a note, or picture to give, with the hopes of getting a sweet or coin, to put in their kettle. The girls and boys dress in oversize clothes, and the girls wear a bandanna on their head, while the boys may wear a black hat. Their cheeks are painted rosey.
Easter witch

This tradition is from the folklore that the witches fly to a mountain in Germany called the Blue Mountain, to meet the devil. This is on Thursday or Friday before Easter. Then when they fly back, on Easter eve, the tradition is to light bonfires, or shoot fireworks to scare the witches off.
Vintage Easter Postcard - Glad Pask Sweden

The traditional Easter meal is herring, salmon, meatballs, eggs, potatoes, asparagus, other vegetables, and usually lamb. Pies and pastries are often included, and it is set up as a smorgasbord.

Family time is very important at the holiday. The Swedish worker is given time off, starting with Maud Thursday afternoon through the Monday after Easter.

Attendance is down at most Lutheran churches, which had been the state church. However, attendance is up at FREE churches, which include Baptist, Pentecostal, and Salvation Army. In these churches the importance of Easter, and the resurrected Christ is taught.

He Lives!


Which parts of the Swedish Påsk, (Easter) celebration do you like? Are you surprised by any of them? Please comment below. If you are not subscribed to Globe Trottin Granny, why not subscribe? You will find the Subscribe area at the right top column.

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Christmas Charm of Gamla Linköping

921288_10152027957732311_252419849_oLynette Skoglund Kleve is a new author/contributor to Globe Trottin Granny. She resides in Sweden, and can bring some insight into the culture of Sweden. Lynette is a friend of mine, who writes her posts on Facebook in a way that you can feel the emotions, and smell the scents. Be sure to check out the About Additional Writers page and read a little about her.

It was December 7th, and the 2nd Annual Christmas Fair at Gamla Linköping (Old Linköping, Sweden) was in full swing. My husband, Bo and I decided we’d get some exercise by walking over and seeing what was on offer. As we trudged through the snow covered sidewalks to the entrance, the first thing that caught our eye was the beautiful spruce tree standing in the middle of the old square with vendors all around.
Gamla Linköping view of Christmas Market

More Christmas Market booths
It was a feast for the senses as there was beauty as well as tantalizing smells perfuming the air such as; fresh pine wreaths, glögg (mulled wine), candy, smoked fish, salami and my favorite, brända mandlar (candied cinnamon almonds) just to name a few. We got there early and while there were people there, it wasn’t crowded which made it easy to maneuver through the cobblestone streets. No matter where we were, carolers were heard singing festive songs in Swedish and in English and sometimes I got caught up in the festive spirit and sang along also, though not as beautifully I’m sure.

One of the shops there, “Ankungen” (The Duckling), had their sign all festively decorated with pine boughs and little white lights. It’s a children’s book store but has more to offer than just books. There are toys of various kinds and lovely postcards, and there is even a small room with ceramics, and other delights for those who are over 7 years of age. It is a fun place to visit.
Barnbokhandel

There were Smithy’s demonstrating how to pound iron into a Ljusstake (Candlestick holder). We enjoyed watching them craft the iron into a thing of beauty, especially my husband. There were several Smithy’s situated around the old town so if you missed the one in the square you were sure to find another just around the corner.
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Here is one photo showing fresh pine wreaths for sale as well as some ceramics. It was the first snow of the season so to be out in 24° F weather was a bit on the nippy side.
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One nice feature of the market is that if you do get too chilly, you can always warm yourself at the various fires they have burning outdoors.

Perhaps the most memorable time at the market was when we went into one of the old houses to see how people lived back in the old days and to my happy surprise there sat Tomte (Santa) warming himself by a roaring fire! This particular house wasn’t very big at all. Two small rooms and the kitchen was all it consisted of. Spinning one’s own wool was very common back then. They slept on a bed that doubled as a sofa and the bathroom facilities were quite handy in the form of a chamber pot on the floor. Back to the kitchen there was a volunteer in old style dress spinning her wool yarn in front of the old wood burning stove. I suppose the old stove and fireplace were situated in the middle of the house so that all the rooms were sure to keep warm from either fireplace or wood burning stove. I remarked what a hard life it must have been but the volunteer told us that it was actually quite a comfortable way to live back then.
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We moved on to another of the museums. This next house is called Solliden and was donated by the son of the couple who lived in the house. He donated it and all it’s belongings as they were in the house when the parents died. It’s a popular attraction and I’ve been in it many times. This day the house was decorated with a lovely little Julgran (Christmas fir tree). A very popular decoration is to drape little Swedish flags on the tree as well as other ornaments. The tree also has real candles on the tree, but that isn’t so common today as electric ones are used. The volunteer at Solliden was baking Pepparkakor (Gingersnaps) and as you can see, she used cookie cutters. Popular shapes here are reindeer, stars, ginger men and women, angles and of course the pig. They were very tasty!

We’ve now gone thru the square and down some side streets, taken in some of the museums and are heading to Baron Von Lingen’s gård (Baron Von Lingen’s Garden). The house was built in 1720 and used to be situated at the top of Storgatan in Linköping but now resides in it’s present place at Gamla Linköping. As we entered the house, a maid was at the door ready to welcome and inform about what one might see. In the dining room, which is central in the house, there waited an elegantly dressed woman in the style of dress one might have seen in the late 1700’s and she stood at the dining table, which was adorned with all kinds of food that would have been eaten at the house during this time of year. There is fish, paté and liver paté, köttgelé (aspic), and beautifully carved butter and soup just to name a few. There would have also been a real pigs head on the table, not for eating but for decoration. My favorite room by far has to be where the help dined. It is full of wood, copper and all sorts of kitchen tools from the old days. Yes, that’s hay on the floor to help keep those sitting there warm. On this visit they had a puppet show upstairs for the children and adults alike. As I stood there listening to the Swedish and looking at the funny pink hand puppet I realized they were acting out the story of The Three Little pigs. I found myself smiling and had quite a good time listening to the very good story tellers. Another fun thing was a cheese making demonstration which was given in the basement. A man showed how to make a round of cheese similar to a white cheddar. Food for thought?

Outside once again and in the garden stands a pole with some grain sitting on it for the birds. I’m sure they appreciated it on this cold day. In front of the pole was another smithy who was making a ljusstake out of iron. Bo gave it a go as well.
Bright Winter Sky

Jul decoration

Horse and wagon
Back in the square once again, I just had to get a picture of the sky….it’s so lovely when it’s blue. Our final moments of our day’s adventure at Gamla Linköping is this shot of some of the vendors tables and some of old buildings and then the horse drawn buggy that was giving rides around the old town. We had a very nice time stepping back in time in the open air museum of Gamla Linköping.

Did you enjoy Lynette’s post giving us a view of God Jul in old time Linköping? Be sure to leave a comment to let her know. It is so much fun to be connected to the readers, and the readers to the author.

When Will It Stop Raining?

While we were in Linköping, Sweden, it rained nearly every day. Not always for a long time, but the rain came most days. My husband, Daren asked one of his colleagues at work, “When does it stop raining in Linköping?” His answer was, “When it starts snowing.” We received this picture from a friend in Linköping today.
Snow scene in Linköping, Sweden with Cathederal
The temperature in Linköping today is -13C, or 9F.

Oh, Linköping, did I mention that the temperature here in Atlanta today is 70F,or 22C. Summertime in Linköping! I don’t think we are going to get snow this year for Christmas, but in 2010 we had snow on Christmas. The first time since 1882.

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12 Reasons I Will Miss Linköping, Sweden

I will soon be moving back to the US. There are things I am going to miss about Sweden, and the town I have been living in,…Linköping. I am sure there will be other things I will notice after I leave. Here are 12 things I know I will miss, not in any particular order.

1. The small town atmosphere in a fairly large town. The city limits has a population of about 100,000. Because there are few high rise buildings, it maintains a small town feel.

2. Most everyone in Sweden speaks English, since the education system is serious about students learning English. All I need to do is speak in English, and they will switch from Swedish to English. Often the Swede I am talking to will say they are enjoying speaking in English because they don’t always get to practice it.

3. I will miss shopping downtown. It is a walking downtown with many, different shops. Anything from clothing, fabric, craft supplies, household décor and necessities, tools, and groceries. In the US there are very few downtowns that still have this feature.

Walking Street in Linköping


4. Walking is something I will miss. I can get anywhere I want in about a half hour. It is refreshing and good exercise.

5. I have enjoyed riding a bike about town. Linköping is a bicycling city. It is easy to ride a bike around town because most of it is fairly level. Walking and biking is the main way residents navigate to work, shopping, and leisure activities. In the US most areas do not have the bike lanes along the sidewalk, which makes biking more dangerous. Plus towns and the places you need to go are spread out more. So hopping in the car is the norm.

Bikes parked in Linköping


6. Gamla Linköping (Old Linköping), is like stepping back into time with the 19th century town. I can buy handcrafted wood, handmade paper, old style toys, candles, handmade crafts, or candy. The café has table settings of the period, and good coffee, tea, pastries, and breakfast sandwiches. Then I might see townspeople dressed in period costume or a demonstration of old time methods, or just enjoy the museum displays.

Gamla Linköping

7. The abundance of park, and forest areas to walk in town, or bordering town, that lets you remember the creator and the peace of nature.

8. I will miss the simple houses of Sweden. There are very few mansion type houses. If you see one, it was probably a castle at one time.

9. Ryttargårdskyrkan , the church I attend will be missed. I listen to the service with head phones. A translator gives the English translation. The fika time has allowed me to meet a lot of very nice Swedes.

Listening to sermon with translation headphones


10. I will even miss our apartment. The ease of cleaning the entire apartment in 15 minutes is enough to be missed.

11. Räksmõrgås (shrimp open face breakfast sandwich), meatballs with lingonberry sauce, potatoes fixed in so many ways, and the pizza…I love the European style pizza.

Raksmorgas

12. Last but not least, I will miss the people. If you ask for anything, like to explain something, or directions, every one of them has been gracious to help. I have met people from England, Ireland, Egypt, Serbia, Israel, France, and of course Sweden. The people from all these countries were from the church, and some are in the English Bible reading group I am a part of.

I will miss my American friend who is married to a Swede, and has lived here for 11 years. We have “hung out” together every week that we were both in town. We met because she made a comment on a blog that I also read, and said she lived in Linköping, and was an American living in Sweden. That was only a couple weeks after I arrived, and I contacted her, we have been good friends since. I just met another American living in Sweden. Already we have started a good friendship.

We have all shared, and laughed, and compared cultures, and teased one another, no matter where our culture of origin has been. Those are things that good friends do.

Also, oddly enough I have a feeling of missing out on the friendships that have not quite developed yet but probably would.

Well it’s time to say goodbye Linköping, but not without a few tears. Tack! Hej då!

Boathouse Stugas

I did a little more exploring in Sweden this weekend. We traveled to Gothenburg (English spelling) Götenborg (Swedish spelling). How to pronounce Göteborg. The majority of the weekend produced rain, and cloudy skies. But we set out to explore a little of the coastline. When we got there we had a brief respite from the clouds and the sun peeked out.

One thing I found out is, that there are boathouse stugas. A stuga is a tiny house that is located either in a colony with garden space, in the forest, along a lake, or in this case along the ocean shore. Stugas are mainly used for vacation purposes, and often do not have heat or running water. In the case of boathouse stugas, the people would have a boat that would be docked in front of the stuga, and sleep in the stuga. Of course summertime is the time to use it.

Boathouse Stugas near Gothenburg

Boathouse Stugas in Smögen,picture from Gothenborg and West Sweden Facebook page.

Marina near Gothenburg

Coast near Gothenburg

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of the West coast of Sweden near Gothenburg!

If you are reading this between Oct. 20, 2012 and Nov. 20, 2012, don’t forget SUBSCRIBE,COMMENT,WIN? Easy contest, you could win a TomTom Via or a $150 Amazon gift card.